Support Group Recap

Dec 14

We had an excellent support group discussion last night, during which participants shared some valuable information. Here, we share some of that information.

Social Security Disability: Ticket to Work

The Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program enables those who receive disability benefits to try to transition back into the workplace without the risk or fear of losing their benefits. Ticket to Work offers the following:

  • Support: An employment network (EN) that contracts with the Social Security Administration offers career counseling, job placement, and ongoing support services.
  • Nine-month trial work period (TWP): The TWP allows you to test your ability to work for at least nine months. During your TWP, you will receive full SSDI benefits no matter how much you earn as long as your work activity is reported and you have a disabling impairment.
  • Expedited Reinstatement (EXR) of benefits: If your benefits stopped because of your earnings level, you can request to have your benefits reinstated without having to complete a new application. While Social Security determines your benefits reinstatement, you are eligible to receive temporary benefits for up to six months.
  • Protection from Medical Continuing Disability Reviews (CDR): You will not have to undergo a medical continuing disability review (CDR) while participating in the Ticket to Work program.

For additional details, including information on how to sign up for a free Webinar on how the program works, visit Ticket to Work.

Copy Your Prescription before Having It Filled

One of our members ran out of medication two or three days prior to getting a prescription refilled. The doctor’s office insisted that it was too soon to refill the prescription, but the doctor’s office was mistaken. Another support group member suggested making a photocopy of every prescription before turning it in to have it refilled. That way, you have documentation of when that prescription was written.

The Eden Express

One of our members highly recommended the book The Eden Express by Mark Vonnegut. who also wrote Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So: A Memoir. Here’s a description of the book from Amazon.com:

The Eden Express describes from the inside Mark Vonnegut’s experience in the late ’60s and early ’70s—a recent college grad; in love; living communally on a farm, with a famous and doting father, cherished dog, and prized jalopy—and then the nervous breakdowns in all their slow-motion intimacy, the taste of mortality and opportunity for humor they provided, and the grim despair they afforded as well. That he emerged to write this funny and true book and then moved on to find the meaningful life that for a while had seemed beyond reach is what ultimately happens in The Eden Express. But the real story here is that throughout his harrowing experience his sense of humor let him see the humanity of what he was going through, and his gift of language let him describe it in such a moving way that others could begin to imagine both its utter ordinariness as well as the madness we all share.

Beware of Positive Energy, Too

Some people are much more sensitive to both positive and negative energy than others. Now that the holidays are upon us, try to be aware and beware not only of the Negative Nancys of the world bringing you down, but also of the excitement that can feed anxiety and mania. As one of our members pointed out, people with bipolar especially tend to function as energy sponges, soaking up the excitement to the tipping point.

Show You Care: Share

Remember that it’s important to come to meetings, even when everything is going swell in your life. Group knowledge and insight are what make support groups so valuable. What you’ve learned from living in the trenches with mental illness can help someone avoid or at least deal with difficult situations and decisions.

Well, that’s all I have. If you were at the meeting and picked up something else of value, please share it here, but remember to keep sensitive information and identities confidential. As Group Guideline #3 states:

What we say here stays here.

One comment

  1. What a great idea! I would never have remembered the Vonnegut book title. I hope this recap reminds other group members about what a safe and hopeful place our NAMI meetings have become. BTW, only took five minutes to write this comment…must be a good day Lol!

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